Colic is a common problem in infants and an even more frustrating condition for parents. Research shows that more than 20% of babies develop colic within the first few weeks of life which does subside by the time the infant is four month old. Babies with colic grow and develop normally and it is rarely a factor in later physical or behavioral problems.
Presently, there is no identifiable cause for colic, but a number of factors have been identified that make colic symptoms worse. These include lack of burping, swallowing excessive air, rapid eating or overfeeding, intestinal gas, or food allergies.
Here are some remedies:
- Chamomile herb has a long history of calming an infant and ease intestinal cramping, so giving two teaspoons to the infant after feeding can be beneficial. Supplementing the mother’s diet with teas made of licorice root, catnip or fennel have also been found to help. Always check for any herb contraindications with your health care provider before using any herbs.
- Warm bath for the colic baby can also used and adding the essential oils of chamomile or marjoram to the infant’s baths for further help in intestinal gas and release of tension in the muscles.
- Air is the root cause of some children being colic especially when the infant is drinking from a bottle, so the parent should check the hole of the nipple because a big hole makes the baby drink more than usual and takes more amount of air. It is a good idea to buy a new set of nipples. Also, make sure the infant burps after every feed. This is achieved by sitting upright and holding your baby against your chest, gently patting your baby’s back until it burps.
- The type of food being eaten by the mother may also cause the child to be colic. Consulting with a dietitian helps prevent this from happening as foods that produce gas are replaced with healthier ones. Consuming cow’s milk, or excessive sugar and salt levels can worsen colic, therefore should be avoided or substituted. Extra Vitamin B, calcium, magnesium and potassium consumed by the mother will help reduce colic.
- The mother can also carry the child onto the shoulders, swaying it side to side, and singing a lullaby or playing a light music CD until the infant returns back to sleep. The sense of touch does wonders making the infant know that he or she is safe and develops parts of the infant’s brain related to empathy.
- Infants are used to having something in the mouth due to breastfeeding. Since the mother’s breasts cannot be there all the time, using a pacifier can help the baby stay calm thus preventing excessive crying. However there do exist pros and cons of using a pacifier so get well informed before using it.
- As the baby gets older, it will get heavier so instead of carrying it in the arms, another remedy can be to use the pram or the carriage and going for a stroll. Some parents have taken the infant for a car ride, which helps calming the newborn.
- Studies show that psychological factors may contribute to the infant’s colic so an environment filled with anger, frustration or even excitement should be replaced with calm and loving environment.
A colic baby believe it or not is a healthy one, and there is nothing wrong if the doctor classifies the baby as a colic. In fact, it means that the little boy or girl is normal. The excessive crying or shouting are ways for the infant to ask for attention. If still concerned always check with your pediatrician.